Funeral poetry

When dealing with the death of a loved one, it can be very difficult to know what to say to express their feelings especially when addressing everyone at a funeral. That’s why lots of people choose to read funeral poems, many of which were specifically written for funerals.

It seems strange but there are a large number of funeral poems out there so HD Tribe Funeral Directors have put together a selection of the most popular funeral poetry and quotes for people to read and choose which bests fits their loved one’s funeral.

Hebrew proverb

Say not in grief ‘he is no more’ but live in thankfulness that he was

Buddhist saying

Yesterday is a memory, tomorrow is a mystery and today is a gift, which is why it is called the present.

What the caterpillar perceives is the end, to the butterfly is just the beginning.

Everything that has a beginning has an ending. Make your peace with that and all will be well.

Mark Twain, The refuge of the Derelicts. 1905

There was never yet an uninteresting life. Such a thing is an impossibility. Inside of the dullest exterior there is a drama, a comedy and a tragedy’

Dr Benjamin Elijah Mays.1894-1984

It must be borne in mind that the tragedy of life doesn’t lie in not reaching your goal.

The tragedy lies in having no goal to reach.

It is not a calamity to die with dreams unfulfilled.

But it is a calamity not to dream.

It is not a disaster to be unable to capture your ideal,

But it is a disaster to no ideal to capture.

It is not a disgrace not to reach the stars.

But it is a disgrace not to have stars to reach for.

Not failure, but low aim is a sin.

Do not stand at my grave. Anonymous

Do not stand at my grave and weep

I am not there, I do not sleep

I am a 1,000 winds that blow

I am the diamond glints on snow

I am the sun on ripened grain

I am the gentle autumn rain

When you awaken in the morning’s hush

I am the swift uplifting rush

Of quiet birds in circled light

I am the soft star that shines at night

Do not stand at my grave and cry

I am not there; I did not die.

All is well. Henry Scott Holland. 1847-1918. Canon of St Paul's Cathedral

Death is nothing at all,

I have only slipped into the next room

I am I and you are you

Whatever we were to each other, that we are still.

Call me by my old familiar name,

Speak to me in the easy way which you always used

Put no difference in your tone,

Wear no forced air of solemnity or sorrow

Laugh as we always laughed at the little jokes we enjoyed together.

Play, smile, think of me, pray for me.

Let my name be ever the household world that it always was,

Let it be spoken without effect, without the trace of shadow on it.

Life means all that it ever meant.

It is the same as it ever was, there is unbroken continuity.

Why should I be out of mind because I am out of sight?

I am waiting for you, for an interval, somewhere very near,

Just around the corner.

All is well.

A child loaned. Anonymous

I’ll lend you for a little time

A child of Mine.” He said.

“For you to love the while he lives

And mourn for when he’s dead.

It may be six or seven year

Or twenty-two or three

But will you, till I call him back

Take care of him for Me?

He’ll bring his charms to gladden you

And should his stay be brief,

You’ll have his lovely memories

As solace for your grief.

I cannot promise he will stay

Since all from Earth return,

But there are lessonstaught down there

I want the child to learn.

I’ve looked this wide world over

In my search for teacher’s true,

And from the throngs that crowd life’s lanes,

I have selected you;

Now will you give him all your love,

Nor think the labour vain

Nor hate Me when I come to call

And take him back again?

I fancied that I heard them say,

“Dear Lord, They will be done,

For all the joy Thy childshall bring,

For the risk of grief we’ll run.

We’ll shelterhim with tenderness,

We’ll love him while we may,

And for the happiness we’ve known,

Forever grateful stay.

But should the angels call for him

Much sooner than we planned,

We’ll brave the bitter grief that comes

And try to understand.

High flight. Flying Officer John Gillespie McGee. 1922-1941

Oh, I have slipped the surly bonds of earth

And danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings.

Sunward I’ve climbed and joined the tumbling mirth

Of sun split clouds – and done a hundred things

You have not dreamed of; wheeled and soared and swung

High in the sunlit silence. Hovering there

I’ve chased the shouting wind along, and flung

My eager craft through footless halls of air;

Up, up the long delirious burning blue

I’ve topped the windswept heights with easy grace,

Where never lark nor even eagle flew;

And while, with silent lifting mind I’ve trod

The high, untrespassed sanctity of space

Put out my hand and touched the face of God.

Farewell. Anne Bronte. 1820-1849

Farewell to Thee! But not farewell

To all my fondest thoughts of Thee;

Within my heart they still shall dwell

And they shall cheer and comfort me.

Life seems more sweet that Thou didst live

And men more true Thou wert one;

Nothing is lost that Thou didst give,

Nothing destroyed that Thou hast done.

Life goes on. Joyce Grenfell. 1910-1979

If I should go before the rest of you

Break not a flower

Nor inscribe a stone

Nor when I am gone

Speak in a Sunday voice

But be the usual selves

That I have known

Weep if you must

Parting is hell

But life goes on

So …. sing as well

Indian prayer. Traditional

When I am dead

Cry for me a little

Think of me sometimes

But not too much.

Think of me now and again

As I was in life

At some moments it’s pleasant to recall

But not for long.

Leave me in peace

And I shall leave you in peace

And while you live

Let your thoughts be with the living.

Remember. Christina Rossetti. 1830-1894

Remember me when I am gone away,

Gone far away into the silent land:

When you can no more hold me by the hand,

Nor I half turn to go yet turning stay.

Remember me when no more day by day

You tell me of our future that you planned:

Only remember me; you understand

It will be late to counsel then or pray.

Yet if you should forget me for a while

And afterwards remember, do not grieve:

For if the darkness and corruption leave

A vestige of the thoughts that once I had,

Better by far you should forget and smile

Than that you should remember and be sad.

If I should go tomorrow. Anonymous

If I should go tomorrow

It would never be goodbye,

For I have left my heart with you,

So don’t you ever cry.

The love that’s deep within me,

Shall reach you from the stars,

You’ll feel it from the heavens,

And it will heal the scars.

He is gone. Anonymous

You can shed tears that he is gone,

Or you can smile because he lived,

You can close your eyes and pray that he will come back,

Or you can open your eyes and see all that he has left.

Your heart can be empty because you can’t see him

Or you can be full of the love that you shared,

You can turn your back on tomorrow and live yesterday,

Or you can be happy for tomorrow because of yesterday.

You can remember him and only that he is gone

Or you can cherish his memory and let it live on,

You can cry and close your mind be empty and turn your


Or you can do what he would want: smile, open your eyes,

love and go on.

What is dying? Bishop Brent. 1862 - 1926

I am standing on the seashore,

A ship sails in the morning breeze and starts for the ocean.

She is an object of beauty and I stand watching her

Till at last she fades on the horizon and someone at my side says:

“She is gone.”

Gone! Where?

Gone from my sight -m that is all.

She is just as large in the masts, hull and spars as she was when I saw her

And just as able to bear her load of living freight to its destination.

The diminished size and total loss of sight is in me, not in her.

And just at the moment when someone at my side says,

“She is gone”,

There are others who are watching her coming, and other voices take up a glad shout:

“There she comes”

– and that is dying. A horizon and just the limit of our sight.

Lift us up, Oh Lord, that we may see further.

Death be not proud. John Donne. 1572-1631

Death, be not proud, though some have called thee

Mighty and dreadful, for thou art not so;

For those whom thou think’st thou dost over throw

Die not, poor Death, nor yet canst thou kill me.

From rest and sleep, which but thy pictures be,

Much pleasure – then, from thee much more must flow;

And soonest our best men with thee do go,

Rest of their bones and soul’s delivery.

Thou’rt slave to fate, chance, kings and desperate men,

And dost with poison, war and sickness dwell;

And poppy or charms can make us sleep as well,

And better than thy stroke.

Why swell’st thou then?

One short sleep past, we wake eternally,

And death shall be no more. Death thou shalt die.

Do not go gentle into that good night. Dylan Thomas. 1914-53

Do not go gentle into that good night

Old age should burn and rave at close of day;

Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Though wise men at their end know dark is right,

Because their words had forked not lightning they

Do not go gentle into that good night

Good men, the last wave by, crying how bright

Their frail deeds might have danced in a green bay,

Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Wild men who caught and sang the sun in flight,

And learn, too late, they grieved it on its way,

Do not go gentle into that good night.

Grave men, near death, who see with blinding sight

Blind eyes could blaze like meteors and be gay,

Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

And you my father, there on the sad height,

Curse, bless me now with your fierce tears, I pray.

Do not go gentle into that good night.

Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

But not forgotten. Dorothy Parker

I think no matter where you stray,

That I shall go with you a way.

Though you may wander sweeter lands,

You will not forget my hands,

Nor yet the way I held my head

Nor the tremulous things I said.

You will still see me, small and white

And smiling, in the secret night,

And feel my arms about you when

The day comes fluttering back again.

I think, no matter where you be,

You’ll hold me in your memory

And keep my image there without me,

By telling later loves about me.

Living Bouquets. Mabel Easley

When I quit this mortal shore

And mosey ’round this earth no more,

Do not weep and do not sob;

I may have found a better job.

Don’t go and buy a large bouquet

For which you’ll find it hard to pay,

Don’t mope around and feel all blue;

I may be better off than you.

Don’t tell the folks I was a saint

Or any old thing that I ain’t.

If you have jam like that to spread,

Please hand it out before I’m dead.

If you have roses bless your soul,

Just pin one in my buttonhole

While I’m alive and well today;

Don’t wait until I’m gone away.

Footprints in the Sand. Mary Stevenson

One night a man had a dream. He dreamed

he was walking along the beach with the LORD.


Across the sky flashed scenes from his life.

For each scene he noticed two sets of

footprints in the sand: one belonging

to him, and the other to the LORD.


When the last scene of his life flashed before him,

he looked back at the footprints in the sand.


He noticed that many times along the path of

his life there was only one set of footprints.


He also noticed that it happened at the very

lowest and saddest times in his life.


This really bothered him and he

questioned the LORD about it:


“LORD, you said that once I decided to follow you,

you’d walk with me all the way.

But I have noticed that during the most

troublesome times in my life,

there is only one set of footprints.

I don’t understand why when

I needed you most you would leave me.”


The LORD replied:

“My son, my precious child,

I love you and I would never leave you.

During your times of

trial and suffering,

when you see only one set of footprints,

it was then that I carried you.”

The journey of my life. Rabindranath Tagore. 1861-1941

It was beautiful as long as it lasted,

the journey of my life.

I have no regrets whatsoever

save the pain I’ll leave behind.

Those dear hearts who love and care …

and the strings pulling at the heart and soul …

The strong arms that held me up

when my own strength let me down.

At every turning of my life I came across good friends,

friends who stood by me

even when time raced by me.

Farewell, farewell my friend.

I smile and bid you goodbye.

No, shed no tears for I need them not.

All I need is your smile.

If you feel sad do think of me

for that’s what I’ll like.

When you live in the hearts of those you love

remember then, you never die.

Funeral blues. Wystan Hugh Auden

Stop all the clocks, cut off the telephone,

Prevent the dog from barking with a juicy bone,

Silence the pianos and with muffled drum

Bring out the coffin, let the mourners come.

Let aeroplanes circle moaning overhead

Scribbling on the sky the message He Is Dead,

Put crepe bows round the white necks of the public doves,

Let the traffic policemen wear black cotton gloves.

He was my North, my South, my East and West,

My working week and my Sunday rest,

My noon, my midnight, my talk, my song;

I thought that love would last for ever: I was wrong.

The stars are not wanted now; put out every one:

Pack up the moon and dismantle the sun;

Pour away the ocean and sweep up the woods:

For nothing now can ever come to any good.